The General Overseer of Pentecostal Canaanland Mission Inc, Ajao Estate, Lagos, Pastor Nick Medo-Uwa, does not mince words on national issues, he is a preacher of righteousness who has been calling for selfless service among the leaders. Medo-Uwa, in this interview with INNOCENT OKONKWO, speaks on the state of the nation; this year’s ‘Laughter Programme’ of the church and other issues.
President Buhari became the President of Nigeria at this point of her history, what is the significance of his emergence and what counsel do you have for him?
Personally, I love President Buhari as a person. In reality, he made his mark in Nigeria when he came on board as the Military Head of State. In those days, we saw a lot of discipline in the society and seriousness in governance. Now that he has come back as a democratically elected president, I will advise him to lead Nigeria without bitterness. We want a government without bitterness. It is true that some people did not vote for him but he should not expect everybody to vote for him.
Now that elections are over, Mr. President should see the citizens as members of Nigeria’s family. He should also realize that Nigeria is a complex country. Notwithstanding the fact that there are tribal and religious sentiments among the citizens, Buhari must ensure that he gives Nigerians a sense of belonging irrespective of tribe or religion. We are all Nigerians; he should see himself as a father to all Nigerians.
Even those who are unbelievers in God have been enjoying his blessings because he allows the rain to fall for both the righteous and the wicked, he also gives everybody day and night, and he has not killed those who didn’t love him. Similarly, Buhari, as the leader of the biggest black nation on earth must have a fatherly heart towards every Nigerian.
Again, the 2015 election won’t be the last election in Nigeria, elections will come and go, even the coming generations will still have elections, so I expected him to carry every section of Nigeria along whether they voted for him or not. Let Mr. President be a father even to his enemies, he should shun the urge for vendetta or tribalism. The president should go for the best hands in this country, who can deliver quality services to the citizens. We have people with potential from different zones of this country; he should pick them and give them the opportunity to serve in his government. If he gets good hands to run the affairs of this country, it will be a better place for all of us.
Do you have any misgiving about those that President Buhari has appointed to serve in his government?
I am a bit confused when it comes to the appointments that Mr. President has made, one of the reasons Nigerians voted for Buhari is because of the trust that he is going to fight corruption in the country. Over the years, corruption has been the biggest challenge of this nation. It has become a monster and Nigerians have been looking for someone that is bold enough to call a spade a spade in fighting the monster. But I can’t understand the drive behind the selection of some of the people who had one issue or the other to clear as regards their previous performances in office as public servants.
Those that have one controversy or the other trailing them should have been dropped for honest Nigerians with impeccable records. Nigeria can boast of numerous technocrats who know their onions who have excelled in different endavours within and outside the shores of this country. Such people should be engaged to serve this country. Once an individual is accused of corruption, such a person should stay away from this government, until the court of law proves such a person guiltless. If people with questionable characters are nominated and appointed, then we are going nowhere. It will be like the way that a former leader of this country was fighting corruption; he was only going after his political enemies.
The ideal way to fight corruption is to go after any corrupt person irrespectively of political affiliation. If he is a member of my family, let him face the music, whoever the person may be, he should be made to face the music. I think Buhari should rise to the occasion and remove those that may dent the image of his government or sabotage the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Are you insinuating that the president should have looked beyond his party in picking his nominees?
He cannot do without his party when it comes to appointments but I believe that there are quality men and women with the requisite track records who are not corrupt. Those who have been in government for many years whom Nigerians cannot vouch for when it comes t5o corruption should give way for fresh hands. Some of these people have been in government for a long time, some of them were formerly in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but they are now in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). If such people are accused of being part of the causes of Nigeria’s problems and they are being appointed again, then there is a problem. We expected him to engage people with fresh ideas that will contribute in moving this nation to a greater height.
The youths are agitating that they were not carried along in the appointments, and in fairness to them, the appointments did not favour the youths, it would have been nice if there is a blend of the young and old in the appointments. Instead of recycling those who have been in government for so long, younger generation between 30 and 36 years of age ought to have been considered. These are vibrant Nigerians who can set a goal and actualize it.
This country does not make adequate use of the young people; as a result, some of them are turning their energy to negative things to the detriment of the nation. We have young people; the elders should be there also. But if Mr. President appoints a minister that is in his or her 30s, indirectly, he will be sending a message to the youths that there is an opportunity for those of them who excel in their chosen field to be appointed into positions in government, it will encourage others to work very hard. Young Nigerians are doing well all over the world, they should be encouraged, Buhari should look inward and do something about it. It is true that he cannot do away with his party but he should look beyond his party in appointing those that will work with him, let his appointment be all encompassing for the benefit of our nation.
What should be the best approach to the fight against corruption?
If you want to fight corruption, you ought to start from your family; a good leader should start such a war from his family members. As a matter of fact, if the president should start this corruption fight from his party, those with corrupt tendencies will run away. If there are two or three of his party members that are in the net of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), pessimists will perish their doubts about genuineness of the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
It will be very difficult to prove that only members of a particular party are corrupt, many politicians are corrupt so let the war cut across board. The fight should start from every angle. My take is that anybody that is corrupt should face the law irrespective of his or her political affiliation.
As we approach the end of the year, what is your advice to the nation?
Nigerians should develop the mentality of change in all aspect of our national life. Both as individuals and also as a community, this change is very important to us as a nation because the way that Nigerians are going in pursuit of mundane things is making things going from bad to worse. People are over ambitious, they want to get rich quick and this is not good for the future of any nation. I believe that if you do your work conscientiously, one day God will reward you but excessive ambition is causing a lot of problems in and outside of this country.
My advice is that Nigerians should learn to exercise patience, with patience and hard work, we will always get there. We are in a hurry to make wealth because our leaders are always eager to celebrate wealth. The society flaunts so much wealth and this is sending the wrong signal to our children and youths. Flaunting of wealth is dangerous to the survival of any nation because young people will believe that money answers all things, as a result, integrity is relegated to the background. If the elders should control the way they display wealth, the younger ones will not be distracted. For instance, if you ask a little child today what he wants to be, the mostly likely answer will be, ‘I want to be a millionaire.’
I am also appealing to my colleagues on the pulpits (religious leaders) to calm the people down because all the get rich quick is causing a lot of havoc in the society. I am totally against this idea of getting quick overnight because if you grow up, you will remain up but if you jump up, you will fall down, so we must educate the young people to grow up instead of jumping up. Let us change our orientation.
What are the special features of this year’s’ Laughter‘ event?
This year’s ‘Laughter’ is going to be very different from the previous ones because of the calibre of ministers that are coming to minister during the programme. We have Bishop Goddy Okafor, from Aba in Abia State. We have Dr John Emilimo, a medical doctor and Apostle Nosa Ojo, from Benin in Edo State; he has a special message for the participants’ especially young people. We decided to bring these notable men of God together so that they can touch every area of people’s lives.
Moreover, we shall visit the orphanages during the programme in order to put joy and laughter on the faces of the orphans. As you know, it is one of the commandments of God that we should visit the motherless and other less privileged members of the society, so we are going to do that in the course of the programme.
This year’s ‘Laughter’ will also impact positively on our nation Nigeria because the country is going through a lot of problems that need divine intervention. We will in the course of this programme devote time to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders at other levels of government that God should endow them with the wisdom they need to administer this country.
We are trusting in God that by the time we hand this country over to him, and pray for the leaders and the led, there will be a better Nigeria for all of us and I am sure that God is going to answer our prayers as he has been doing. He has assured me that there will be his visitation this year and we are expecting that visitation during this programme. It is a week-long event which runs from Sunday, October 25 to Sunday, November 1, 2015.
The general theme of this annual programme is ‘Laughter,’ but this year’s topic is, ‘The insult is over.’ Nigeria has received insults as a nation, some people have also received insults, some families too have received some insults which have persisted for a long time, and all these will be addressed by God, he says that the insults are over. After this programme, there is going to be a new realm of glory in the lives of individuals, families and our nation.
What other good thing should the participants expect from this programme.
They should expect a total turn around in their lives; God will surely intervene in their situations. The prevailing economic situation has left so many people disillusioned but with God’s intervention, there will be a breakthrough. God will make a way where there is no way, the Bible states clearly that at a time like this that his people will prosper and flourish. We are going to also experience his mercy, sinners will get converted, and there will be salvation for sinners and healing for the sick. There will be prosperity for the poor and open doors for so many people; job seekers will get jobs and there will be favour for all to the glory of God. It is going to be heaven on earth because the men of God that are coming are loaded, they have the mandate of God to deliver people and to give us the word of God, and God has been honouring their prayers.